How does COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that
contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on
their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch.
People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected.
COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:
Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles
that contain the virus.
Having these small droplets and particles that contain virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth,
especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
- Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them.
How can I protect myself?
- Get Vaccinated
- Wear a mask
- Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces
- Test to prevent spread to others
- Wash your hands often
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect areas regularly
- Monitor your health daily
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to
severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to
severe symptoms. People with these symptoms** may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
** This list does not include all possible symptoms.
What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?
If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below
to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.
- Stay at home (except to get medical care).
- Separate yourself from others.
- Monitor your symptoms and seek medical help if your symptoms worsen.
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when around others.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Wash your hands often.
- Clean high-touch surfaces every day.
- Avoid sharing personal household items.
When should I seek emergency care if I have COVID-19?
Look for emergency warning signs** for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
** This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are
severe or concerning to you.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety
monitoring in U.S. history. CDC recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can.
- COVID-19 vaccines were developed using science that has been around for decades.
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe—much safer than getting COVID-19.
COVID 19-vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness from COVID-19 and limiting the
spread of the virus that causes it.